Timely elections reinforce democracy

Uncertainty is gripping the country on political front. Whether or not next general elections will be held on time or the incumbent government will be replaced by a national government are some of the questions that are popping up in minds of the people because of posture adopted by certain political parties who seems more interested in dislodging present regime rather than taking forward the democratic process. The very statement of PPP Co Chairman Asif Ali Zardari who, while addressing a public meeting in the federal capital last week, stated in unequivocal terms that he will be more interested in seeing the government packing up before its stipulated period.
Though there is nothing wrong if the government calls early elections in order to end political uncertainty but by doing so the interim government will be left with no option but to conduct the polls as per previous delimitations of 1998 which we understand will be against the Constitution as the Election Act recently passed by Parliament envisages fresh delimitation of constituencies after every Census. In present scenario, the role of all political parties especially the Opposition is very important and they need to demonstrate maturity and democratic conduct while rising above petty interests in order to ensure smooth transition of power as per constitutional provisions. The first step is getting passed the constitutional amendment on delimitation of constituencies already passed by the National Assembly. Addressing a ceremony in Jhang on Saturday, the Prime Minister stated that non-passage of constitutional amendment by the Senate, where the Opposition enjoys majority, depicts that opposition parties are not interested in timely polls. In fact there is no justification for opposition parties not to pass the amendment as the National Assembly has already passed it after the consensus that emerged amongst the provinces and the parties at the level of CCI and the meetings of parliamentary leaders chaired by Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. If the PPP and PTI really consider themselves as true democrats and want timely elections, they need to come to the Senate session beginning today (Monday) and help the government in getting the amendment passed as according to the Election Commission it requires at least a period of six months to complete the process of delimitation. The passage of the amendment envisaging more seats for smaller provinces such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan indeed will help end the current uncertainty about next elections which are imperative to further strengthen democratic process in the country.

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